The most common cause of foraminal stenosis is the natural aging process. Various age-related degenerative conditions can contribute to the development of foraminal narrowing. For example, as a person grows older, the cartilage in his or her joints tends to wear away, leaving the adjacent bones to grind against each other (a condition known as osteoarthritis). This process can lead to the formation of bone spurs in the spine, which can exert pressure on the foramina. Likewise, aging can cause someone’s spinal discs to flatten out and harden (a condition known as degenerative disc disease). This can lead to bulging discs, herniated discs and spondylolisthesis, all of which can compress the foramina.
Although most cases of foraminal stenosis result from aging, certain factors can speed up the process. Below are three activities that can accelerate the development of foraminal stenosis:
- Participating in high-impact sports. Taking part in sports that involve repeated impacts on the spine — such as gymnastics, football and hockey — can wear down the spinal joints and lead to the development of foraminal stenosis.
- Repeatedly bending and twisting. Repeatedly bending and twisting the spine, like someone would when golfing, can also cause the cartilage in the spinal joints to deteriorate at a quicker pace.
- Engaging in an unhealthy lifestyle. Because excess weight places additional pressure on the spine, eating poorly and failing to exercise can contribute to an early case of foraminal stenosis.
If your doctor has diagnosed you with foraminal stenosis and you’ve been unable to lessen your symptoms using conservative methods of treatment, please contact USA Spine Care so that we can offer you information on our minimally invasive foraminotomy procedure. We’re also pleased to offer free MRI reviews* that can help determine whether you are a candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgeries.
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